A Letter to My Daughter on Her Graduation Day

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My Dearest Daughter,

It’s hard to believe it’s already your graduation. It seems like just yesterday I was walking you into your first day of class.

I still remember your first day of kindergarten. Your blonde hair was pulled up in two ponytails, and you smelled of new clothes and bubble bath. You were so scared, you were shaking. Oh, wait, that was me.

Do you remember the advice I gave you? It’s funny how it still applies. It was something like this:

Be friendly to the other kids. They are nervous, too.

Play jump rope at recess. It’s good to get your heart pumping, and you will have at least two other girls to talk to.

Don’t throw away your sandwich and just eat the Twinkie. I will know.

Pay attention in class, mind your manners, and most importantly, don’t wait too long to go to the bathroom.

Don’t have secret friends or secret clubs. In general, don’t have secrets. If something feels wrong, it’s because it is.

Don’t volunteer to be the kid that takes names.

It’s nice to have a lot of friends, but don’t be close friends with people who have questionable character.

It’s true what they say: you can tell what kind of person you are by the friends you keep.

Don’t worry about stepping on cracks. I’ll be fine.

Don’t be too curious about the boy’s bathroom. Trust me, it’s not that great.

Sit in the middle of the bus. Sit too far in the front, and you are a nerd. Sit too far in the back, and you will learn another language. And it’s not Spanish.

If you have a substitute teacher, treat her with respect. Just because the other kids are swimming on the floor doesn’t mean you have to. It’s okay to be alone when you are right.

Don’t make fun of the weird kid. He has feelings, too.

Here are a few addendums:

Try to save some money. When rainy days come, they’re usually in the form of hurricanes.

Study hard. Don’t procrastinate. In case anyone tries to tell you otherwise, copying and pasting IS cheating.

Ramen noodles are not food. Ever.

Be as generous as you can with your time, your friendships, and your love. But at the same time, don’t be anyone’s doormat.

Don’t change yourself for anyone else. Who you are is fine. And don’t hang around with people who want you to change.

Don’t spend too much time trying to make someone love you. It should be easy. If they can’t appreciate the beauty of you, move on. You can’t make the blind see.

About love and marriage: don’t marry the one you can live with. Marry the one you can’t live without.

Decide what you love and do it. Don’t settle. This is success.

If you need help, ask. This goes for homework, bills, and personal struggles. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of wisdom.

Love with your whole heart, holding nothing back. Sometimes you will get hurt this way, but it’s the only way. Anything less is cowardly.

Your family loves you. No matter how far you go, you know the way home. Always.

Love, Mom

Read more like this in Tina’s new book Cold Coffee and Speed Limits available on Amazon!

Tina Book Cover

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